Culture is the Engine of Innovation

August 11, 2021

First published on Built In Colorado, by Erik Fassnacht. August 9, 2021.


Excerpt from: "Culture is the Engine of Innovation: How Workiva’s leadership, engagement and inclusion strategies create a loyal workforce and innovative ideas."


Susan Rice heard the rumors, but she wasn’t quite ready to believe them. It all seemed too good to be true.


When Rice first joined Workiva as vice president of user experience, she knew the basic facts: that the employee engagement scores were very high — around 90 percent — and that attrition was under 6 percent. What’s more, the few who did leave the company sometimes became “boomerangs,” which are employees who follow an opportunity elsewhere only to return to Workiva later, after realizing that another company’s culture can’t compete.


“Normally when you join a company, the honeymoon period falls off at about six months, but in this case it was the opposite,” Rice said. “I kept thinking, how could the company culture be this great? I was a little suspicious at first. And then I realized, wow, it’s all real. I’m incredibly lucky.”


Senior Vice President of Technology Clay Stanley had a similar experience. 


“I’d heard that the culture at Workiva was special, but as an outsider coming in, I wasn’t sure,” Stanley said. “Other companies I’d worked for had similar aspirations, but it never quite panned out.”


Though Stanely was initially skeptical, it didn’t take long for his eyes to open. 


“As I spent time with Workivians across R&D and the company, I realized that Workiva’s culture is amazing. It’s a powerful differentiator for us. We have amazing people, building awesome products and doing it all in an inclusive and collaborative way. It’s the best job I’ve ever had.”


Stanley and Rice soon realized something else along the way: the company culture at Workiva wasn’t just creating a large group of motivated and loyal employees — it was also leading directly to innovation. Furthermore, that spark was coming not just from the top but from every level at the company, including new employees. The company culture at Workiva, they realized, had also become an engine for innovation.


Many questions remained. First of all, exactly what factors made the company culture at Workiva so special? Secondly, how did those factors influence innovative thinking on such a large scale?


Built In Colorado sat down with Stanely and Rice for a conversation about the blueprint for Workiva’s unique company culture, and how that culture directly influences inspiration and innovation across the company.


Read the full interview on Built In Colorado.


For the latest news and information, visit The Workiva Newsroom

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